The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes Reader’s Guide

After all that macho stuff on the bridge in Don’t Look Down, I wrote a novel with two good friends, Anne Stuart and Eileen Dreyer, about witches with screwed up powers and even worse love lives. Then we talked about it.

  1. We put butterflies on the page for each of the four point of view characters. Did that help or hinder your ideas of the characters? Schlocky gimmick or brilliant characterization device? Please don’t say you didn’t notice.
  2. Eileen characterized Dee in a large part by her painting. How does art help communicate Dee’s desires? What does it say about her as a person?
  3. Krissie (Anne) fell in love with Elric so Lizzie spends most of time in the bedroom with him. How does sexuality communicate Lizzie’s desires beyond sex? How does the physical inform the emotional for her?
  4. Jenny vented a lot of rebellion in Mare, who sees herself as Queen of the Universe (no, these characterizations are not at all autobiographical, why do you ask?). Did you find Mare’s confidence annoying? How does her need to be Queen reveal both her fears and desires? How does it fuel her character arc?
  5. Speaking of autobiography, Jenny wrote Xan, too, and thinks she’s the greatest. Was she the character you loved to hate (always good in an antagonist) or did you find her annoying? Do you feel she got her just desserts? How would you have saved the world from Xan?
  6. Elric is a sorcerer, Danny has supernatural powers but doesn’t realize it, Crash has the power to fix motorcycles with his bare hands. Did the fact that they were so different knock the book out of balance, or was it good for the heroes to be varied?
  7. The theme in The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes is about transformation, embodied not just in the sisters’ powers, but also in the objects that surround them, starting in the first chapter when Lizzie changes the muffins, and in their character and plot arcs. What do you think of both the concrete transformations and the characters’ transformations? Did they echo each other for you as you read the story?
  8. Because we occasionally lose our grip, we buried a lot of frog jokes in the story, telling each other it was foreshadowing for Jude. How many of them did you get? Did they make you lose all respect for us?
  9. Which sister would you choose to be? (Think powers, lovers, clothes . . .)